Weekender

‘A beautiful way to spend an afternoon’: Pro ice skaters, Amy Grant team up for Musselman’s Apple Sauce Family Skating Tribute

The Penn State figure skating club and the Nittany Lion skate during last year’s Musselman's Family Skating Tribute at Pegula Ice Arena. This year’s event will feature a performance by Amy Grant.
The Penn State figure skating club and the Nittany Lion skate during last year’s Musselman's Family Skating Tribute at Pegula Ice Arena. This year’s event will feature a performance by Amy Grant. CDT file photo

Due to the success of last fall’s ice-skating show with country singer-songwriter Sara Evans, the Penn State and State College communities again will enjoy live family entertainment, as the Pegula Ice Arena will again host the Musselman’s Apple Sauce Family Skating Tribute on Oct. 19.

Headlined by two-time Olympic medalist Nancy Kerrigan and six-time Grammy Award-winning artist Amy Grant, the star-studded event will feature numerous world champion skaters and Olympic medalists — Silvia Fontana, John Zimmerman, Paul Wylie, Kurt Browning, Ekaterina Gordeeva, Todd Eldredge and more.

Hosted by champion figure skaters Kristi Yamaguchi and Michael Weiss, the event will feature Olympic skaters performing routines with their children to a live musical performance by Grant.

The American singer-songwriter is known for performing Christian music, gaining fame in the 1980s with her hits “Father’s Eyes,” “El-Shaddai” and “Angels.” Grant later found success in mainstream pop music as well, releasing the five-time-platinum album “Heart in Motion” in 1991, which yielded the hits “Baby, Baby,” “Every Heartbeat” and “I Will Remember You.” Grant has collaborated with numerous well-known artists, including Christian singer-songwriter Michael W. Smith and former Chicago singer and bassist Peter Cetera. She remains the best-selling contemporary Christian music singer ever, having sold more than 30 million records worldwide.

The Nashville, Tenn., resident grew up with radio hits and was constantly sneaking her older sisters’ records out of their room and into hers. She loved Joni Mitchell, Carole King, James Taylor, the Beatles, Aretha Franklin and Elvis Presley.

“Everything was new then,” Grant said. “Pop music was totally unexplored, and then there was the British invasion with the Beatles.”

Whether recording gospel or pop albums, performing duets or singing solo, Grant said she feels blessed to have the success she’s had, and all of the people with whom she’s worked with who have made it all possible.

“I just sort of happily wound up in some really magical places,” Grant said.

At 53, Grant said she feels she has had her run and she has loved every minute of it. But what gets her heart racing more than anything is knowing that it’s her turn to lift up the people coming after her. In the same way that she applied her creativity to making music, Grant tries to open up her mind and look at the resources that she has.

“My life and especially my recording career, has been so impacted by people who let me dream and supported those dreams,” Grant said. “What I look forward to the most is pouring my energy into the dreams of artists coming after me. And all of that possibility is thrilling for me.”

As it does in music, Grant said she believes that nothing happens unless you start talking about it and open yourself up for direction.

For the skating event, Grant said she submitted a master list of songs to the different skaters and told them they could choose the songs they wanted to choreograph.

“I just think it’s so beautiful when you mix creative media — doing my live music with my band and then the skaters will be bringing those songs to life on the ice,” she said. “It’s so much fun from my vantage point. To see all that movement and emotion, and the choreography; it will be a beautiful way to spend an afternoon.”

The event will be broadcast nationally at 4 p.m. Nov. 23 and Dec. 7 on ABC.

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